DYNASTY WARS / Capcom / Arcade
This game really feels more like the first Dynasty Warriors than the original Dynasty Warriors does, even though it's from Capcom rather than Koei. It's an arcade slash-em-up in Capcom's usual early 90s style, kind of a combination of Knights of the Round with some of the level-up elements of Dungeons and Dragons, but taking place in the good ol' Warring Kingdoms era of ancient China. It's apparently based on some manga that was huge in Japan in the late '80s and uses its art style and plot progression.
You choose from one of the four usual heroes, and two players can go in simultaenously. It's standard level-by-level side scrolling where you beat on legions of mooks until you get to a boss, but the fight system in Dynasty Wars is a little different from beat-em-up contemporaries. It uses the Double Dragon 2 system of having buttons attack to one particular side, and you can also charge each attack to varying levels which is useful for bosses (who like to parry regular strikes) and smashing through barricades.
Oh, and you're glued to a horse the whole time for some reason. Being glued to the horse is actually detrimental sometimes, as your big sprite makes it harder to dodge hails of incoming arrows and flames burning along the ground.
It's an OK brawler, just very repetitive, even more so than the usual standard for this era. The whole game is a pattern of infantry and cavalry engaging you while archers or flaming oil guys constantly rush in from the edge of the screen and obnoxiously peck at you. Bosses are also extremely samey, pretty much the same "warlord on a horse" sprite every time except they have different weapons and may or may not have one of those big mustaches.
Graphics and music are both on the "meh" side but not too bad. The sprites are tiny and uninspiring, especially next to Konami's work of the time, but the backgrounds actually often look pretty nice. The music is totally forgettable, I just played this like 10 minutes ago and I can't remember any of it.
It's an interesting little curiosity piece, especially for Dynasty Warriors fans, but don't expect to get much more out of it than that.